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Would Legislation Help Prevent Fatigued Driving?

Truckers already face stricter policies than most users of the road. Federal rules, for example, require truck drivers to submit to medical testing and to get a set number of hours of rest in between driving periods. Hours of Service rules also limit how many hours commercial truck drivers can stay on the road.

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All of these regulations are aimed at reducing the risk of fatigued driving, one of the biggest risks on our roads, according to safety experts. Dispute the measures, truck accidents in Hollywood and South Florida continue to be caused by fatigued drivers. It has led some legislators to consider passing stricter laws to prevent fatigued driving.

The problem with legislation

Part of the problem, however, is that legislating sleep and fatigued driving is very difficult. It’s possible to ban texting and driving because there are ways to measure whether someone is driving and texting at the same time. How can we tell whether someone is driving without adequate rest? Unless they tell us they feel tired, we have no strict and accepted tests for establishing levels of fatigue.

In most cases, after a truck or car accident in Hollywood or South Florida, police at the scene may determine whether an at-fault driver seemed excessively tired. In other cases, driver logs may reveal a commercial driver didn’t follow Hours of Service rules. If a truck cab has a driver cam, it may be possible to tell whether a driver showed signs of fatigue—such as yawning—before a collision, but few trucks have these sorts of monitoring devices.  In addition, none of these methods detect fatigue before it causes an accident, so that collisions can be prevented.

A committee for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has released a report recommending the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration gather more information about the link between driver sleep hours, Hours of Service, and crash rates in order to determine the best way to prevent fatigue-related crashes.

Have you been injured by a truck driver you believe is fatigued or under the influence? A driver who has been awake for more than 24 hours may have the poor coordination and slower response times of someone who is legally over the blood alcohol limit. If you suspect a driver did something illegal (such as violate safety rules) contact the police immediately.

If you have been injured by an unsafe driver, you may be able to file a legal claim against the driver, truck company, and other liable parties. To find out whether you qualify, contact Flaxman Law Group for  a free, no obligation case analysis. The legal team at our law firm can talk to you about the details of your case and can help you review the legal options you may have. Our caring and compassionate team is always available if you have been injured. In fact, our phone lines are staffed at every hour, so you can always reach out to us and talk to a live person if you’ve been injured and need advice.